The world lost a good one earlier this week, when country music legend Merle Haggard passed away on his 79th birthday. With 71 top 10 country hits, two autobiographies, a spate of movie appearances, and one single – 1968’s Today I Started Loving You Again – that has been covered by more than 400 artists, he left behind a decades-long legacy whose impact on music and culture would be hard to overstate.
CMT took notice. The day news of Haggard’s passing at his California ranch broke, the network aired CMT Remembers Merle Haggard, a special featuring never-before-seen footage and interviews, along with tributes from some of the biggest names in country music, including Miranda Lambert, Toby Keith, Florida Georgia Line, Vince Gill, Wynonna Judd, Dwight Yoakam, Brooks & Dunn and Bobby Bare.
On Thursday, the network tore up their regularly scheduled programming to air an all-day tribute, appropriately called “All Merle, All Day,” featuring some of the singer’s most beloved songs and videos.
“Merle Haggard’s achievements must be counted among the greatest in all of popular music history, not just country music,” said CMT President Brian Philips. “His poetic and melodic genius, and of course his indelible, influential voice will live forever. CMT will honor our friend accordingly.”
CMT will air CMT Remembers Merle Haggard again in the coming weeks. Check your local listings for details. In the meantime, take a look back at the interviews below with Merle and other big name country stars: